Sin No More: From Abortion to Stem Cells, Understanding Crime, Law, and Morality in America

Sin No More: From Abortion to Stem Cells, Understanding Crime, Law, and Morality in America

Sin No More: From Abortion to Stem Cells, Understanding Crime, Law, and Morality in America

Sin No More: From Abortion to Stem Cells, Understanding Crime, Law, and Morality in America

Synopsis

Sin No More offers a vivid examination of some of the most morally and politically disputed issues of our time: abortion, gay rights, assisted suicide, stem cell research, and legalized gambling. These are moral values issues, all of which are hotly, sometimes violently, contested in America. The authors cover these issues in depth, looking at the nature of efforts to initiate reforms, to define constituencies, to mobilize resources, to frame debates, and to shape public opinion- all in an effort to achieve social change, create, or re-write legislation. Of the issues under scrutiny only legalized gambling has managed to achieve widespread acceptance despite moral qualms from some.

Sin No More seeks to show what these laws and attitudes tell us about Americans' approach to law and morality, and about our changing conceptions of sin, crime and illegality. Running through each chapter is a central tension: that American attitudes and laws toward these victimless crimes are going through a process of normalization. Despite conservative rhetoric the authors argue that the tide is turning on each of these issues, with all moving toward acceptance, or decriminalization, in society. Each issue is at a different point in terms of this acceptance, and each has traveled different roads to achieve their current status.

Excerpt

There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of
America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we
will one day be as was the Cold War itself.

—Patrick Buchanan, 1992 Republican National Convention

It's not blue state versus red state after all, but more like blue
urban versus red rural, skyscraper versus church house, Chez
Panisse versus Denny's. That is to say, it's all about population
density, cultural hub, all about the much-touted “redneck revenge”
on the “liberal elite” for unleashing, I suppose, small European
cars and artisan cheese and “Queer Eye” and “The West Wing”
on them without their express written consent. It is, in short, all
about Retro vs. Metro.

—Mark Morford, “Down with Fancy Book Learnin': What's It
Mean That the Big Cities and College Towns of
America All Voted Blue?” (2004)

November 2004: Return to “Values”?

American liberals could be forgiven for thinking that indeed things had turned screwy—or scary—in 2004. Everywhere one turned after the presidential elections of 2004, the Reverend Jerry Falwell was pronouncing the meaning of the election, and why George W. Bush was returned to office. Falwell, who many may have thought had flamed out with his intense and uncompromising conservative religious positions and ubiquitous media role since the Reagan years, was all over the airwaves. One night, he was explaining to Chris Matthews on MSNBC's . . .

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